Eva by Whitney Cohen

Artist Statement:
Eva Deutsch Costabel, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor, renowned artist, published author/illustrator, and my personal friend, is depicted in charcoal and oil pastels. Eva is vehemently passionate about ensuring that her story and the stories of other survivors stay alive. She is originally from Zagreb, Yugoslavia, which is where her father was ripped away by the Nazis to be deported and murdered in Treblinka. She then escaped with her mother and sister to Crikvenica, only to be imprisoned by the Italians in two camps (Kraljevica and Rab). In Rab, Eva worked as a nurse for the Yugoslav partisans (a Communist resistance group fighting the Axis powers in Yugoslavia), and spent much of her time secretly creating sketches of her surroundings. When her artistic talent was noticed by the partisans and she was placed in the propaganda unit, she fled to the Croatian Coast, as she refused to create Communist propaganda. Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, estimates that 66,000 out of 80,000 Yugoslav Jews died in the war. Eva is now both a published author/illustrator and a renowned artist. Eva often recognizes the irony in her artistic style of choice—bright and colorful abstract acrylic painting—which contrasts starkly with the tragedies that she has experienced. She has also written and illustrated five published children’s books, as well as a book of needlepoint designs.Eva first became acquainted with my family in 2014 through my cousin’s bar mitzvah project with The Blue Card, an organization that aids needy Holocaust survivors. She still attends our family b’nai mitzvot and yearly Pesach seders, and we are truly blessed to have her in our lives.
Whitney Cohen is a member of the class of 2022 at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in New York City. She is the vice president of the Finance and Investment Club, on her school's Dance Team and Math Team, in the Pre-Med Society, and is in the NYC DOE Chancellor's Student Advisory Council, where she focuses on issues of mental health within the NYC public school system. Whitney is deeply involved in the world of breast cancer research and fundraising as a volunteer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a co-founder and the Chief Creative Officer at the nonprofit organization Passionate 4 Pink. She enjoys exploring her passions in medicine, Jewish life, and social justice, often weaving them together through visual art. Whitney also loves discussing her leap-day birthday with everyone she meets.